Municipal Art Society of New York
MAS is a 125-year-old civic organization (MAS) that works to educate and inspire New Yorkers to engage in the betterment of our city. As a non-profit advocacy organization, MAS mobilizes diverse allies to focus on issues that affect our city from sidewalk to skyline. MAS protects New York’s legacy spaces, encourages thoughtful planning and urban design, and fosters complete neighborhoods across the five boroughs devoted to improving the physical environment of New York City.
Our advocacy efforts over the years have led to the creation of the nation’s first zoning ordinance, early air and noise quality controls, the first billboard legislation, New York’s first tree-planting program, and the establishment of New York City’s Planning Commission, Public Design Commission, and Landmarks Preservation Commission. MAS played a key role in the legal action that saved Grand Central Terminal and the resulting United States Supreme Court decision affirming the New York City’s Landmarks Law. MAS also was a key player in the successful court battles over Saint Bartholomew’s Church and Columbus Circle – the latter would have resulted in the largest building ever built in midtown Manhattan at the time – as well as a leader in New York’s response to 9/11, spearheading the Tribute in Light and Imagine New York.
More recently, MAS released the Accidental Skyline initiative, focusing on policy recommendations to close loopholes in the City’s Zoning Resolution and correct flaws in the public review process. In addition, MAS has been successful in advocating for legislation that improved the Board of Standards & Appeals variance process and regulations governing Privately Owned Public Spaces (POPS). It is currently advocating to protect the Garment District and City parkland from the imposition of development rights currently unavailable in the Zoning Resolution.